Posts Tagged ‘Nuclear safety’

A Fukushima on the Hudson?

April 4, 2016

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NY-DN874_NYINDI_16U_20150414182440Ellen Cantarow and Alison Rose Levy wrote an alarming and plausible article for TomDispatch about the likelihood of a Fukushima-type accident at the Indian Point nuclear power plant outside New York City.

The Indian Point plant has a terrible safety record, even by industry standards.  There is an ongoing leak of tritium (radioactive) water, whose source has not been identified, into local groundwater and the Hudson River.  There is a known danger of flooding, which could cause a meltdown of the reactor core, but management of Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, has declined to install a $200,000 flood detector.

Now a high-pressure natural gas pipeline is planned by an energy company called Spectra, would carry fracked gas within 150 feet of Indian Point.  Accidents in gas pipelines are on the rise, according to a study by the National Transportation Safety Board, due to gas companies cutting corners on safety.

How much risk should the nearly 20 million people who live in the vicinity of Indian Point assume?

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U.S. nuclear plants are wearing out

March 31, 2012

If these YouTube videos have been taken down, click on Danger Zone: Aging Nuclear Reactors for Al Jazeera’s documentary on U.S. nuclear safety.

I have long believed that nuclear power is a dangerous technology that can be provided safely.   This Al Jazeera documentary raises the question as to whether nuclear power will be provided safely.  The documentary shows that many U.S. nuclear power plants are poorly maintained and are being kept operating past their planned closing dates.  Moreover many are next to earthquake faults.   If nuclear power plants cannot be operated profitably without violating the industry’s own safety standards, they should be shut down as soon as replacement power can be made available.

Because such a long time is required to bring a new nuclear power plant into operation, the replacement power will have to be coal or, preferably, natural gas.  Maybe some day there can be a new generation of nuclear power plants using current technology and located on seismically safe sites.   If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. nuclear industry were responsible about continuing nuclear power in this country, such a generation of nuclear plants should have been ready to go on line now.  If this is not politically and ecoomically feasible, then nuclear power, at least for now, is not politically and economically feasible.

Nuclear plants in earthquake zones a bad idea

March 15, 2011

I’m not an opponent of nuclear power in general, but Japan’s experience should show that nuclear power plants in earthquake zones are a really bad idea.

Click on Could It Happen Here? for the original map in context.

Click on Nuclear power and earthquake zones overlap in the U.S. for separate, and more detailed, maps of nuclear facility locations and earthquake zones. [Added 3/16/11]